Friday, August 28, 2015

FIRST MAJOR MONSOON TO HIT OUR AREA

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 87 Sunny High 109) 

There have been other monsoon storms in the Phoenix area but we had our first major monsoon in our area yesterday, 60 mph dust storm and rain, made for an interesting afternoon.



There were 5 microbursts in the metro area in this storm. There also was a gustnado in the west valley where we are. 



A gustnado is a weak, short lived tornado like vortex. The window facing the rain leaked so we have to get that fixed. There were lightning strikes that caught palm trees on fire across the valley. Here is one in Ahwatukee. 



Finally, we are so glad to have our generator because the power went out a little after 4p. 



We had air conditioning and TV until the power came back on about 1030p, 5 and 1/2 hours that we used our generator. We are luckier than some that are still without power Friday morning.

Never a dull moment in this lifestyle.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, August 10, 2015

RETURNING TO THE HEAT, PART 2

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 86 Slight Chance of Storms High 106) 

Subtitled: It never makes that noise when you take it into the shop!

We drove back from Flagstaff yesterday, back to the furnace they call the valley of the sun. This will be a short entry as we are way behind in reading other blogs and all things electronic since we had some computer problems while in Flagstaff. The keyboard on our laptop started acting up and we took it to Best Buy today in Goodyear to get it fixed. Bob checked it yesterday and it was still having problems but it worked fine when the tech looked at it today, go figure. There still is an issue with the 'Capslock' light but everything else appears to work.

It never makes that noise when you take it into the shop!

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, August 7, 2015

RIORDAN MANSION IN FLAGSTAFF

Currently in Flagstaff AZ (Low 51 Storms Around High 75) 

We love the weather in Flagstaff that has allowed us to do something in the middle of the day instead of running from air conditioned space to air conditioned space. We toured Riordan Mansion State Park. Riordan Mansion is the story of the Riordan brothers who were involved in lumber, railroad, banking, cattle, and politics. To make the story even more interesting the two brothers who built this house, Timothy and Michael, married the Metz sisters.

The style of the house is arts and crafts. The architect was Charles Whittlesey whose name is no doubt recognized to those familiar with the hotels built by the railroads out west. Charles Whittlesey was the architect for the El Tovar Hotel at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. Some of the similarities between the structures include massive stone arches at porch corners and rustic exterior consisting of log planks (for this home it was pine native to the area), wood shingles, and native stone (for this home it was volcanic rock). 

The two sisters wanted to be close to each other so the brothers had almost identical 6000 sq. ft. homes built with a 1000 sq. ft. common room between them. The architect called the room the rendezvous room while the brothers called it the cabin. Here is the mansion from the parking lot.



The visitor center is the original 6 car garage. The 13000 sq. ft. were built in less than one year finishing in 1905. Photos aren't allowed on the first house we toured, the east side residence of Timothy Riordan and his family. Bob got this picture before he was told. 



This is the unique ice box configuration just inside the entry of the house at the servants entrance. Ice was brought in and placed in the top area. The deliveries of groceries was placed in the second compartment accessible from the kitchen inside.

Here are photos from the other side of the house, Michael Riordan and his family, where photos are allowed, don't worry Bob didn't get into trouble :-)


Religious art was throughout the house, more on that later.



Although almost identical structurally the homes were decorated differently. The best example of that is the stained glass. On the Timothy side the stained glass windows were tulips, here is a photo from the outside since you couldn't take pictures in that side of the house.



On Michael's side the stained glass was Arizona Poppy.



Here is the outside of the house showing the rugged exterior and arches.





The flowers outside were beautiful.





An incredible family story and a family home. The Riordan's were proud Irish Catholics and contributed to the building of the 'Church of the Nativity' which we will blog about later.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, August 3, 2015

ESCAPING THE HEAT - PART 2 (FLAGSTAFF)

Currently in Flagstaff AZ (Low 50 Afternoon Thunderstorms High 80) 

Jo doesn't have her followup at the pain center until mid-August so we decided to escape the heat one more time. We drove yesterday to Flagstaff. At about 7000' the temperatures are much cooler. It will be nice that the daytime high is lower than the overnight lows where we came from. Here is the route we took:



The cooler temperatures, although some rain, for the week.




Compared to the weather in the valley.



We are both feeling some effects from the higher altitude so we are taking it easier today. It sure is nice to have the windows open, the cats really like that. For the rest of the week if it rains we go to movies, when cool we plan to do some sightseeing. We did have our first taste of the monsoons, ironically just after we blogged that we had been spared so far, funny how that works. We got dumped on pretty good Friday afternoon causing some flooding and wind damage although other parts of the valley got hit harder. Apache Junction, where Jim and Sandy from Where Are The Dixon's Today fame, may have gotten hit by a microburst. The news was showing damage in Apache Junction and it was the mobile home park next to them. They blogged on the storm and have pictures of damage in their park. We are glad that they are OK. Here is the picture of that monsoon from the network broadcast.




Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, July 31, 2015

BEST THINGS ABOUT SUMMERS IN THE VALLEY OF THE SUN

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 83 Slight Chance of Thunderstorms High 105) 

The best thing about summers in the valley of the sun is when you get to a parking lot and can find a nice shady spot. Here is Bob getting ready to open the door for Jo.




The 2nd best thing is ice cream, specifically the 31st special at Baskin-Robbins. July 31st is 31% off of sundaes.




The locals keep telling us that the worst is behind us with June being the hottest month and it slowly cools off we thought comparing the comfort here versus back in the Kansas City area (or other cities with hot temperatures and high humidity like Houston or Orlando). The sun may feel like it is burning and you could catch on fire but at least you can breathe with the lower humidity.

So far three months into it and we have to say we are fairly lucky. May was actually very pleasant compared to what we were expecting (5 days in the 70s and 15 days in the 80s). June - although very hot with a few 115s we spent 10 days in the White Mountains where it was in the low 90s. Now July has been the coolest July since the 1990s. We also have missed most of the monsoon activity of blowing dust and rain. We have had a little dust and some rain but the majority of it has gone around us. 

Although it is still much hotter than we ever planned on while we were fulltiming it could have been a lot worse. It truly is a fry heat instead of a dry heat but if you stay indoors with air conditioning or can park in the shade it maybe isn't as bad as we thought it was going to be.

We are heading up to Flagstaff on Sunday for our second attempt at escaping the heat. We will be there for a week.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

WE SAW 'ANT MAN'

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 80 Mostly Sunny High 106) 

We recently saw 'Ant Man', the latest movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).




Although there is a lot of action there also is more comedy than other MCU movies which we liked. The plot of the movie involves shrinking technology, developed by Hank Pym (the original Ant Man) played by Michael Douglas, and keeping it safe from evildoers. The opening scene in 1989 involving a younger Hank Pym and his resignation from SHIELD that has Peggy Carter and the father of Tony Stark (Iron Man) was neat.

Flash-forward to present day and Hank Pym's protege has duplicated his shrinking technology so there is a need for a new Ant Man. Enter Paul Rudd as Scott Lang. Evangeline Lilly plays Hope Kym, Hank's estranged daughter.

Like we said lots of action and neat tie-ins to the other MCU movies. There is a scene with an Avenger and Ant Man will be in future movies. The requisite Stan Lee cameo was pretty cool too. As with all MCU movies there are extra bonus material in the credits. This time about 2 minutes into the credits is extra Ant Man material and there is more at the end of the credits.

Although not our favorite MCU movie it was still a good one and sure beat the heat being in a cool movie theater.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

JO'S DONE, AND SHE'S HUNGRY

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 80 Sunny 104)

"Jo's done, and she's hungry", those were the words spoken by the nurse yesterday when she came for Bob. Jo just had a nerve ablation, or RFA, on the left side of her neck. Radiofrequency (RFA) is a procedure used to reduce pain. An electrical current produced by a radio wave is used to heat up a small area of nerve tissue, thereby decreasing pain signals.

Since the procedure involved deadening and pain medications Jo could not eat for 6 hours before the procedure. Breakfast was now a long time in the past so she was ready to eat. We got takeout from Texas Roadhouse on the way home.

As the deadening wore off Jo was more uncomfortable as the evening progressed with pain in that area and a headache. She is looking forward to being able to take NSAIDS again. She was pretty good today as we went out to eat and to see a movie.

We don't care what they say about radio frequency, this is what they used on the nerve :-)




Here is Jo in more comfortable times in Yosemite.




Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

GOT PERSONALIZED LICENSE PLATES

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 82 Sunny High 104) 

We recently got personalized license plates, Iowa State Cyclones, from the great State of Texas. Here is a sample from the website. This is not a real plate but ironic isn't it, BB for Bob Baskerville?




Thanks to the efforts of the Alumni Association and a group of alumni, the State of Texas is now offering residents the option to purchase Iowa State University Cyclones license plates. Enough alumni pre-ordered the plates, Bob was one of them, that they were issued and became available in June.

Interestingly, the existence of Iowa State license plates in Texas was recently mentioned in a Supreme Court opinion by Justice Samuel Alito. While sarcastically dissenting in Walker v. Texas, a case about the state’s authority to control what can be printed on license plates, Alito wrote: “As you sat there watching these plates speed by, would you really think that the sentiments reflected in these specialty plates are the views of the State of Texas and not those of the owners of the cars? If you saw Texas plates with the names of the University of Texas’s out-of-state competitors in upcoming games – Notre Dame, Oklahoma State, the University of Oklahoma, Kansas State, Iowa State – would you assume that the State of Texas was officially (and perhaps treasonously) rooting for the Longhorns’ opponents?”

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, July 18, 2015

THIS ONE IS FOR OUR DESTINY RV PARK FRIENDS

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low aa Conditions High bb)

Destiny RV Park where we usually winter and are still at is getting the main streets repaved. We talked to the guy who was marking the streets and he told us to keep the windows and doors closed. That should be no problem in the 110 degree heat :-)

Here is the main street in front of our site with the clubhouse in the distance after they were marked for cutting. As you can see the streets are in desperate need of repair.



1st pass of current streets cut to prepare for new asphalt.



1st pass cutting other direction.




2nd pass cutting of asphalt of current streets.



With new asphalt.




New paved streets by the clubhouse with the entrance in the distance.




Here is the project map showing what streets will be done and when (remember you can click on the photo to enlarge).




They started at 7a cutting the asphalt in front of our site and everybody knows how late Jo likes to sleep in so this was an annoying start. Plus it was a noisy, dusty, and smelly with some lingering asphalt smell still present for a few days. It will be worth it though.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, July 16, 2015

A PIZZA-PIZZA DAY

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 81 Sunny High 106) 

A Pizza-Pizza day and we don't mean Little Caesar's (although we like Little Caesar's a lot).

We met Jim and Sandie of 'Where are the Dixon's Today?' blogging fame at Sal's Gilbert Pizza in Gilbert Arizona. We have blogged about this place before and Sal's has been on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. We really like their unique approach to pizza and had to let Jim and Sandie know about this great place. They put toppings on pizza you would not expect but it works, it really does.



Jo got a slice of her favorite baked ziti pizza, yeah baked ziti pasta as a topping.




While Bob got a slice of his favorite the spaghetti and meatball pizza




Bob added a slice of the chicken marsala pizza since it was so highly recommended. It had toppings of chicken, grilled onions, mushrooms and marsala wine sauce.




Jo added a salad. Everything we had was great as usual. Jim and Sandie had a stromboli and a sub sandwich and both liked what they got.

We sat and talked about upcoming medical procedures. Why else would we both be here in the heat in mid-July? Jim has his on the 20th and Jo has hers on the 21st.

The second part of Pizza-Pizza was next and requires a little background. Bob's sister recently sent him a link to the 10 best pizzas in their home state of Iowa. Coming in at No. 4 on that list was 'Happy Joe's Pizza and Ice Cream'.




Happy Joe's is a small midwest chain that lays claim to being the inventor of the taco pizza. Taco pizzas are mostly found in the midwest and consist of refried beans as the tomato sauce replacement topped with meat, cheese, tomatoes, onions and black olives. Lettuce, sour cream, taco chips, and salsa are added after baking. It is really good

While Bob was reminiscing about his many trips to a Happy Joe's and lamenting that Jo has never been to one he finds out that there is a recently opened Happy Joe's location in Gilbert Arizona, the only non-midwest location, about 5 minutes from Sal's. We didn't go there for the Taco Pizza this time, we ordered a Happy Joe's Special to go, a combination of Canadian bacon and sauerkraut. We like unique toppings on our pizzas what can we say? We had a couple of slices for supper and it was as good, or even better, as Bob remembers. Jo also liked this unique pizza. 




While waiting for the pizza we originally planned to take advantage of the ice cream portion of their name but this location is too small to have ice cream. We ordered the pizza to go at 'Happy Joe's Pasta and Wings' and then headed to Udder Delight just down the road for ice cream. Jim and Sandie went with us and we continued our great conversation. We never met these guys until we started RV'ng fulltime and following each others blogs and have only met a few times in person but it is amazing how easy it is to converse with them.

A Pizza-Pizza day in the heat of the valley of the sun.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Monday, July 13, 2015

AN INSIDE AND OUT KIND OF DAY

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 79 Sunny High 107) 

We had an Inside and Out kind of day recently. First we saw the movie 'Inside Out'.




This is Pixar's latest film. Pixar is the studio that has brought us 'Toy Story', 'Finding Nemo', 'Cars' and many others. 'Inside Out' deals with the voices inside your head; joy, disgust, fear, anger and sadness. The voices begin with the birth of Riley and follows this little girl as she grows up. It is a feel good movie that makes you laugh and Bob got even a little teary eyed a couple of times. Some of the best scenes deal with the voices inside the other people in Riley's lives.

We went to lunch at In-n-Out which is Bob's favorite chain burger and in Jo's top 5.




We both got double doubles (double meat double cheese). Bob got his 'animal style' from the not so secret menu.




An INside aNd OUT kind of day.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Friday, July 10, 2015

TERMINATOR REBOOT - YOU KNOW YOU ARE GETTING OLD WHEN

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 79 Sunny High 103) 

You know you are getting old when movie series you watched years ago are rebooted with a younger cast. These movies include 'Star Trek', 'Spiderman', 'Superman' and now 'Terminator' among others.  We recently saw 'Terminator: Genisys'. 




The best way to reboot a series, especially a science fiction series like 'Star Trek' or 'Terminator', is to create a new timeline. This is accomplished by the Arnold Schwarzenegger T800 Terminator being sent earlier to protect Sarah Conner by a person or persons unknown at this time allowing younger actors. Then there is more time travel, this time into the future. This allows an older Arnold to play the role since he is encased in human skin which ages making his starring quasi believable. There is a great scene where the CGI version of the younger Arnold and the older Arnold engage in a battle.

The new timeline moves judgement day, the rise of the machines, later and ties it into the smartphone and tablet era. Since we are fans of all things 'Terminator' we liked the reboot and look forward to the sequels. There are a few references to the older movies which was neat. All in all we liked the movie and recommend it.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, July 4, 2015

OLD GUYS RULE

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 86 Times of Clouds and Sun High 107) 

Subtitled: King of the Road

Bob's sister sent him this great t-shirt that she found while in Florida recently. Thanks go out to KB for this. Here is the front, 'old guys rule'.




Here is the back, 'king of the road'.




'King of the Road' enlarged.




Now we just have to find a t-shirt to donate because if something comes in something goes out.

A Happy 4th of July to all!!



Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Thursday, July 2, 2015

SAW 'SAN ANDREAS', 'ALOHA', AND 'JURASSIC WORLD'

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 84 Breezy High 106) 

With all the heat we have a lot of indoor activities. We recently saw 'San Andreas'.




Starring Dwayne Johnson as a rescue team leader this is an action packed disaster movie that we used to watch. The plot is that he is trying to save his wife and daughter from a series of major earthquakes along the San Andreas Fault. 

We really liked this movie and recommend it. Certainly not an Academy Award winner but incredible special effects and great acting by Dwayne Johnson, Carla Gugino, Alexandra Daddario and the always great Paul Giamatti. 'The Rock' has come a long way. A lot of movies with a lot of action the scenes can drag on and you are like, just kill the guy, but in this movie we never got that feeling.

Next we saw 'Aloha' starring Bradley Cooper and Emma Stone and the never disappointing Rachel McAdams among others..




Another not an Academy Award winner but a fun movie nonetheless. Bradley Cooper plays a military contractor on assignment in Hawaii. He is guided by an Air Force Captain played by Emma Stone. While there he meets up with an old girlfriend played by Rachel McAdams. A fun couple of hours for sure.

Finally, we just saw 'Jurassic World'.




Chris Pratt is everywhere now it seems, we remember him as the brother on the old TV show 'Everwood'. There is a lot of action in this movie, a new dinosaur along with some recurring ones from the three previous movies. Dinosaurs are penned in, dinosaurs get loose, ah you know the plot. Lots of action and an entertaining 2 hours.

Being inside and cool is pretty important right now in the valley of the sun where the 110s are normal.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo

Saturday, June 27, 2015

ALL IN; WEATHERTECH EDITION

Currently in Goodyear AZ (Low 86 Afternoon Storms High 109) 

We have a tendency that when we jump in we jump in all the way, from Google to Good Sam to others. The latest all in is Weathertech. We had been looking at replacing our carpeted floor liners on our Ford F-350 and were down to choosing between Weathertech and Husky Liners. When Paul and Margery from Living our Dream chose Weathertech and then blogged about it we were closer to choosing. 

By this time we also need a new sun shade. Bob did a lot of research and settled on Weathertech. It is a US company which makes us feel good. What we like about their products is that they are laser measured and customized for each vehicle. Here is the sun shade from the inside.




And from the front. 




What we like about the Weathertech sun shade is that it fits incredibly well and it rolls up and has a velcro strap for easy storage when not using. 

We chose black for the floor liners because most of the time here in Goodyear we are tracking in black dust, probably from the old asphalt. Our old carpet was stained pretty bad in black. We figured that wouldn't show up as bad on the black floor liners. Here is the back seat with the seats up.




With the seats down.




The front seat.




It scares us but Weathertech has many more products to chose from to continue our 'all in' mentality. We purchased the liner cleaner and protector products along with an interior detailer and an interior glass cleaner. We will let you know how they work.

We will leave you with this photo from our park of a blooming saguaro. 




We have seen these before but never with one with so many possible blooms.




Weather wise it was bound to happen and it looks like the rainy season may be upon us as the afternoon forecast calls for thunderstorms. Yeah all we need is humidity in addition to 110 degree days.

Till next time,

Bob and Jo